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Saving Your Home in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

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  • Michelle J. White
  • Ning Zhu

Abstract

This paper examines how filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 helps financially distressed homeowners. We develop a model of debtors' decisions to default on their mortgages and file for bankruptcy and evaluate it using a new data set of debtors who filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 in 2006. We also examine the effect of introducing cram down of residential mortgages in Chapter 13, which would reduce the total amount that debtors owe. We find that 96 percent of Chapter 13 filers are homeowners and 79 percent of filers repay mortgage debt in their repayment plans, while just 9 percent of filers replay only unsecured debt in their plans. Thus, filers use Chapter 13 almost exclusively as a save-your-home procedure. Under current law, only about 1 percent of Chapter 13 filers who would otherwise have defaulted save their homes, but this fraction would increase to 10 percent if cram down were introduced. We estimate that the cost to lenders of cram down would be $264,000 per home saved and $30 billion in total. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Michelle J. White & Ning Zhu, 2010. "Saving Your Home in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 33-61, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:39:y:2010:i:1:p:33-61
    DOI: 10.1086/605096
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Scott Fay & Erik Hurst & Michelle J. White, 2002. "The Household Bankruptcy Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 706-718, June.
    2. Hülya Eraslan & Gizem Koşar & Wenli Li & Pierre‐Daniel Sarte, 2017. "An Anatomy Of U.S. Personal Bankruptcy Under Chapter 13," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 58, pages 671-702, August.
    3. Berkowitz, Jeremy & Hynes, Richard, 1999. "Bankruptcy Exemptions and the Market for Mortgage Loans," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 809-830, October.
    4. Foote, Christopher L. & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2008. "Negative equity and foreclosure: Theory and evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 234-245, September.
    5. Adam B. Ashcraft & Astrid A. Dick & Donald P. Morgan, 2007. "The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act: means-testing or mean spirited?," Staff Reports 279, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    6. Quigley, John M & Van Order, Robert, 1995. "Explicit Tests of Contingent Claims Models of Mortgage Default," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 99-117, September.
    7. White, Michelle J, 1998. "Why Don't More Households File for Bankruptcy?," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 205-231, October.
    8. White, M.J., 1998. "Why Don't More Households File for Bankruptcy?," Papers 98-03, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
    9. Sarah W. Carroll & Wenli Li, 2008. "The homeownership experience of households in bankruptcy," Working Papers 08-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Henri Fraisse, 2017. "Households Debt Restructuring: The Re-default Effects of a Debt Suspension," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 686-717.
    2. Michelle White & Wenli Li, 2011. "Residential Mortgage Default and Consumer Bankruptcy: Theory and Empirical Evidence," 2011 Meeting Papers 1038, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Casey B. Mulligan, 2009. "Means-Tested Mortgage Modification: Homes Saved or Income Destroyed?," NBER Working Papers 15281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Song Han & Geng Li, 2011. "Household Borrowing after Personal Bankruptcy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 491-517, March.
    5. Desai, Chintal Ajitbhai, 2017. "The cross-section of consumer lending risk," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 256-282.
    6. Wenli Li & Ishani Tewari & Michelle J. White, 2014. "Using bankruptcy to reduce foreclosures: does strip-down of mortgages affect the supply of mortgage credit?," Working Papers 14-35, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    7. Chintal Desai & Gregory Elliehausen & Jevgenijs Steinbuks, 2013. "Effects of Bankruptcy Exemptions and Foreclosure Laws on Mortgage Default and Foreclosure Rates," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 391-415, October.
    8. Wenli Li & Ishani Tewari & Michelle J. White, 2019. "Using Bankruptcy to Reduce Foreclosures: Does Strip-Down of Mortgages Affect the Mortgage Market?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 59-87, February.
    9. Cornwell, Christopher & Xu, Bing, 2014. "Effects of the BAPCPA on the chapter composition of consumer bankruptcies," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(3), pages 439-442.
    10. Hülya Eraslan & Gizem Koşar & Wenli Li & Pierre‐Daniel Sarte, 2017. "An Anatomy Of U.S. Personal Bankruptcy Under Chapter 13," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 58, pages 671-702, August.
    11. Wenli Li & Michelle J. White & Ning Zhu, 2011. "Did Bankruptcy Reform Cause Mortgage Defaults to Rise?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 123-147, November.
    12. Will Dobbie & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & Crystal S. Yang, 2017. "Consumer Bankruptcy and Financial Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(5), pages 853-869, December.
    13. Matthew Botsch & Benjamin Iverson & Donald P. Morgan, 2012. "Subprime foreclosures and the 2005 bankruptcy reform," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 18(Mar), pages 47-57.
    14. Eric Helland & Anupam B. Jena & Dan P. Ly & Seth A. Seabury, 2016. "Self-insuring against Liability Risk: Evidence from Physician Home Values in States with Unlimited Homestead Exemptions," NBER Working Papers 22031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Henri Fraisse, 2017. "Households Debt Restructuring: The Re-default Effects of a Debt Suspension," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 686-717.
    16. Wenli Li & Michelle J. White, 2009. "Mortgage Default, Foreclosure, and Bankruptcy," NBER Working Papers 15472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Michelle J. White, 2008. "Bankruptcy: Past Puzzles, Recent Reforms, and the Mortgage Crisis," NBER Working Papers 14549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • K35 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Personal Bankruptcy Law
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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